Refreshed 2016 Fiat 500 revealed
First revealed to the world on July 4, 1957, the 2016 Fiat 500 has been revealed on this “red-letter” day exactly 50 years later.
FIAT SAYS its 500 is a symbol of “mass motorisation” and indeed it is with almost 3.8 million units sold since its launch in 1957. So, according to Fiat it “chose to celebrate that heritage by introducing the 2016 Fiat 500, a car which embodied the same spirit and personality as the original and which has also enjoyed phenomenal success all over the world”.
The new Fiat 500 has received 1800 detail changes for its latest model, refreshing both the inside and outside and running a new engine line-up as well as new media and entertainment units.
Available in two body styles (hatchback and convertible), the new Fiat 500 will be available in three trim levels (it goes on-sale in Europe in September): Pop, Pop Star and Lounge. All models have LED daytime running lights, seven airbags and a Uconnect infotainment system with six speakers, AUX-IN/USB ports and steering wheel remote controls as standard equipment. The Australian specification line-up hasn’t been announced yet.
The engine line-up of the new Fiat 500 at launch includes a 0.9-litre TwinAir engine (63kW or 78kW), and a 1.2-litre 51kW unit. A small diesel unit will be available after launch but whether it will be included in the Australian line-up remains to be seen. Fuel consumption for the 0.9-litre engine is just 3.8L/100km combined.
The new Fiat 500 retains its predecessors dimensions – 357cm long, 163cm wide and 149cm tall, with a wheelbase of 230cm. In terms of the look of the new Fiat 500, Fiat’s crayon twirlers have refreshed the design rather than revolutionised the look. So, the headlights are still circular but they’re now on more of an angle giving the thing a slightly bolder, more masculine looking front-end. The rear has been tweaked too, but one touch we like is the grab handle for the boot, which has been styled to mimic the numberplate light from the original 500.
The interiors are extensively revised, most noticeably in terms of dashboard design: it now integrates FCA’s Uconnect infotainment (touchscreen on the Lounge version) across the range. Fiat claims the unit is easier to read and more intuitive to use – we’ll wait until we drive the 500 before agreeing or disagreeing. The dashboard dome and air vents are also redesigned to accommodate the new unit.
The new steering wheel features new remote control buttons “which are easier to operate and, thanks to their chrome-plated edging and high-quality materials, more pleasant to touch”. The circular instrument cluster, with analogue dials for speed and engine revs and digital secondary gauges, is retained for Pop and Pop Star models, while the innovative seven-inch TFT display, developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli is cost-optional on the Lounge version (in Europe and the UK anyway).
In terms of safety, some variants of the new Fiat 500 get bigger brakes, while standard across the range are seven airbags (front, window and side airbags, plus a driver’s knee airbag), ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD), advanced electronic stability control (ESC), anti-slip regulation (ASR), Hill Holder and hydraulic brake assistance (HBA) to help with emergency stops.
We’ll update this article with local details closer to the local launch which will either be late this year or very early next year. In terms of pricing, it’s likely that Fiat will hope to keep the 500 at its current list price, but extra gear might see the price rise slightly. If you’re looking for the current model don’t miss our Pop review.